If one could claim any silver lining to the travesty of the past year’s Trump presidency, perhaps it could be the way it has reminded so many of us not to take the many benefits and responsibilities of our democracy for granted.
Such basic things as free and fair elections, respect for facts and the truth, and for a free and independent press are gaining value by leaps and bounds in the public perception. So are such old fashioned things like, “Your word is your bond,” when it comes to keeping promises and having confidence in government.
Two things which have taken a horrible nosedive in the public perception this year have been the integrity and morality of the individual politician in favor of a slavish adherence to party, especially among those on the right, and in a class entirely by itself, the integrity and moral suasion of most high-profile leaders of the so-called evangelical religious right. Just as Fox News and many right wing radio commentators tossed any residual pretenses of fairness and objectivity overboard in 2017, so these religious frauds defaulted on any claim to being healing pastoral influences amid their flocks in favor of some of the most crass exhibitions of soul-sold defenses of moral and sexual excesses by the president and other right-wing leaders. If hell is a place, you won’t have any problem figuring out where to send your holiday greeting cards to these for, well, perhaps eternity (though we favor repentance and redemption, instead).
Between the president and his shrinking movement there is a common thread that is increasingly disgusting. It lies in the area of the suspension of basic trust between human beings that is grounded in the respect one person holds for another that impels speaking the truth instead of a deception or lie. Disregard for the truth, in favor of whatever advances a personal or political agenda, is an assault on those on the receiving end of such dissembling and lying. If you lie to me, you are not only degrading your own integrity, you are assaulting and insulting me, seeking to diminish my capacity to make valid decisions based on truth.
This disregard for the truth is the most fundamental assault that this administration and its party has been inflicting on the population. It began during the campaign and continued on Inauguration Day when the new Trump White House broadcast its lying posture for the entire world to see by compelling a pathetic spokesman to insist that the Inaugural ceremony and parade were witnessed by millions of non-existent people.
A free and independent, fact-based press is the most important component of a democracy, especially when it is under attack.
Going into the New Year, we invite our supporters to sign onto the “Friends of the Falls Church News-Press” and weigh in on our behalf and on behalf of a free press everywhere. We’ve just created a Facebook page and invite you to “like” it.